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Incredible Crock Pot Meatloaf

25 Jan

meatloaf

2 eggs, beaten
3/4 cup milk
2/3 cup fine dry bread crumbs (I use the Italian Seasoned kind)
2 tablespoons grated onion, or 2 tsp onion powder, or a half-packet of Lipton’s dry onion soup mix
1 clove crushed garlic, or 2 tsp garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon ground sage
1 tablespoon Cholula or Tabasco (optional)
1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce (not-so-optional)
salt and pepper to taste (we use Nature’s Seasoning)
1 pound ground buffalo (bison), 1/2 pound lean ground beef, 1/2 pound ground pork (not sausage)
Sliced jalapenos (nacho-style, optional)
Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)

Sauce
1/4 cup ketchup
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1 teaspoon dry mustard
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg

Gravy
Meatloaf drippings, strained
1/4 cup corn starch
2+tbsp milk (enough to completely dissolve the corn starch)
1 cup beef bullion or broth

In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, bread crumbs, onion, garlic, sage, Cholula/Tabasco, Worcestershire, salt and pepper. Add the meat and mix thoroughly (the best part is getting the meat under your fingernails – woo!). Shape by hand into a 9×5-inch rectangle or oval, and carefully place it in the crock pot. Sprinkle additional Worcestershire and/or Cholula/Tabasco over top. Place sliced jalapenos on top of loaf. Cover and cook on LOW for six hours (and really, you can’t overcook the thing – it’s been in the crock pot for 7 or 8 hours before and turned out just fine).

To remove it from the crock pot, slide a flexible spatula underneath and carefully lift out. Sometimes I use two, coming at it from each side. Place on a platter and top with shredded cheddar cheese, then cover with foil and let it “rest” for about five minutes.

I’ve provided instructions for both the sauce and the gravy, to put on top of the meatloaf. My family prefers the gravy, although I love the sauce, too.

Sauce – Combine ketchup, brown sugar, mustard and nutmeg in a small bowl. Pour mixture over meat. Turn control to HIGH. Cover and cook on high for 15 minutes. Slice and serve meatloaf.

Gravy – Remove meatloaf from crockpot. Pour juices and drippings through a strainer into a saucepan. Put saucepan on stove on high heat and immediately whisk in beef broth. Bring to a boil. Combine cornstarch with milk in a bowl or measuring cup. When drippings are boiling, gradually add corn starch, whisking constantly, until you have achieved the desired consistency (it may not require all of the corn starch, or it may require more). Slice and serve meatloaf with gravy.

Alterations/Serving Suggestions:

  • Add a packet of onion soup mix to the meat mixture in place of onion and garlic.
  • Meatloaf Billy Style – Put a slice of Texas Toast on a plate. Add a slice of meatloaf. Top with mashed potatoes. Top mashed potatoes with a spoonful of canned corn (warmed). Cover all with gravy, salt, pepper, Worcestershire, Cholula, and a dab of Ranch dressing. Groan as you can feel your arteries clogging.
  • Killer Meatloaf Sandwich – Prepare two slices of bread by buttering one side of each slice, and putting mayonnaise or Miracle Whip on the other side of each slice. Assemble sandwich such that the buttered sides of the bread are on the *outside*. Fill the sandwich with a thin slice of meatloaf, a spreading of ketchup, a slice of pepper-jack cheese, salt, and pepper. Place the assembled sandwich in a frying pan warmed over medium/high heat, and fry until both sides are golden brown (as in a grilled cheese sandwich).

As you can tell, clearly this household obsesses over this meatloaf. If anybody out there decides to make this, drop me a line and let me know how it turned out, okay?

Crock Pot Beef Stew

25 Jan

2 lbs stew meat, cut into 1/2 inch cubes
4 large potatoes, peeled and sliced into 1 inch cubes
2 cups (or more or less to your taste) peeled baby carrots, halved
1/2 onion, cut into chunks
2 celery stalks, sliced
1 lb whole mushrooms, stemmed and cut into halves (optional)
4 cups beef broth (I make it with good ol’ bouillon cubes)
2 cloves garlic, crushed
seasoned salt/pepper
tenderizer
bay leaf
Worcestershire

1/4 cup corn starch, mixed with 1/4 cup of water
2 cups frozen baby sweet peas (more or less to taste)
Chopped parsley (optional)

Mix stew meat in a large bowl with crushed garlic, tenderizer, salt/pepper, and Worcestershire to taste. Use your hands! It’s fun, and it makes you “one” with your culinary concoction. Just remember to wash your hands first. And afterward. Allow meat to marinate while preparing veggies. Place all veggies (except peas), meat, bay leaf, and one cup of beef broth into crockpot, mix thoroughly. Pour remaining beef broth over all. Turn crockpot to Low and cook for at least 8 hours, 10 hours is best if you like the meat to break up and mix in. During last 15 minutes of cooking time, turn crockpot to High. Add baby sweet peas and corn starch mixture (to thicken broth), and stir in. Stir in chopped parsley. Makes a huge amount (servings sizes have not been estimated as sometimes Calvin will stand there and eat it right out of the pot).

Crocked Chicken

25 Jan

1 whole fryer chicken
1 cup chicken broth
1 large sweet onion, roughly chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp dried parsley
Herbed Chicken seasoning (or garlic powder, celery salt, onion powder, etc…)
salt and pepper to taste
2 tbsp Worcestershire

Remove the guts from the chicken – he won’t need ’em anymore. Rinse the chicken inside and out, and stuff caveties with the onion, garlic, and parsley. Rub the chicken generously with seasonings, salt, and pepper. Pour chicken broth into the crock pot, then place the chicken in the crock pot (so the seasonings aren’t rinsed off). Sprinkle generously with Worcestershire (this will provide a nice brown color to the skin when the chicken is cooked). Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.

When cooked, remove chicken from the crockpot (it takes me two spatulas and some praying – the thing falls apart it’s so tender). Tent with tin foil for ~10 minutes to allow the juices to gather inside the meat. Meanwhile, make the gravy!

Gravy: Pour liquid from crock pot into medium sauce pan. If you desire a larger quantity of gravy, add additional chicken broth. Heat on high until boiling. While broth is heating, stir together 1/4 cup milk and 3 tbsp corn starch until smooth. Add to boiling broth and stir until thickened.

Serve chicken and gravy with mashed potatoes or rice.

**Recipe updated 4/7/08

Minestrone Stew

25 Jan

1 lb hamburger
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, pressed
1 4 oz can green chilies (note: NOT Jalapenos!)
1 can whole kernel corn, drained
1 can pinto beans, rinsed and drained
1 can stewed tomatoes
1 can prepared Minestrone soup (I use Progresso)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
salt and pepper
2 cups uncooked pasta shells

Brown hamburger with chopped onion and pressed garlic. Transfer to crock pot. Add remaining ingredients except uncooked pasta, mix well. Cook in crock pot on low for four to six hours. At end of cooking cycle, cook pasta according to directions. Rinse, drain, and add to crock pot mixture. Serve with crusty bread.

You’ll notice the note next to the green chili ingredient listing. That’s because around here, chopped jalapenos come in very similar packaging to chopped green chilies. I mistook the jalepenos for the chilies on one unfortunate occasion, and rendered the entire pot of stew inedible. Yarg. I mean, I like spicy food, but that was ridiculous.